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Things Only Adults Notice In The Powerpuff Girls

The Powerpuff Girls is typically thought of as an all-ages show, but it certainly didn't start off that way. Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup were first conceived of by animator Craig McCracken while he was a student at CalArts, but in their original incarnation, Chemical X was nowhere to be seen. Instead, Professor Utonium created them by mixing sugar, spice, and everything nice with "a can of whoopass," and they were known as "The Whoopass Girls."

As you might imagine, when McCracken decided to pitch the show to networks, he changed their name, but to be honest, he really didn't tone down his adult sense of humor all that much. Here at Looper, we've done a few of these articles before, exploring things only adults notice in shows like Captain Planet and Power Rangers, but we've never had a cornucopia of adult content quite like this before. We're not sure exactly what was going on at Cartoon Network's Standards and Practices department in 1998, but either someone was incredibly permissive or incredibly gullible, because The Powerpuff Girls' writers managed to slip an unbelievable amount of stuff into the show that's highly inappropriate for children. Most of the time, this content is hidden in such a way that the kids watching aren't going to notice, but after some of these episodes, they're at the very least going to ask their parents some uncomfortable questions. Here are all the things that only adults notice in The Powerpuff Girls.

The mayor is always horny on main

The Mayor of Townsville usually seems about as chaste as they come: a cuddly and dopey little old man. However, we occasionally get brief glimpses of the Mayor's inner psyche, and whenever we do, we find a sea of horniess that's raging just beneath the surface. Our first hint comes in "A Very Special Blossom," when the girls are trying to raise money to buy a Father's Day gift for Professor Utonium. Because they don't have an actual source of income, they decide to ask the Mayor for money, as back payment for all their superheroism. They Mayor shuts them down with the highly provocative line, "I'm no sugar daddy. Those days are over."

If that wasn't enough, things get even more blatant in the episode "Something's a Ms." In it, the supervillain Sedusa impersonates the Mayor's assistant, Miss Bellum, and uses her feminine wiles to persuade the Mayor to unwittingly help her commit some crimes. Then, after Sedusa is thrown in jail, the Mayor continues to flirt with the real Miss Bellum for a bit, until Bellum explains that the woman flirting with him earlier was a supervillain, and not actually her. At this, the Mayor promptly excuses himself. When asked where he's going, he says, "To the prison, visiting hours are almost over." Despite all our attempts to think of the Mayor as nothing but a sexless teddy bear, lines like this make it clear that he is still very much a sugar, spice, and everything nice daddy.

The Powerpuff Girls learn about "shrinkage"

The first time the evil Rowdyruff Boys appear, they act like elementary school-aged boys, even having fart-based attack powers. The girls eventually they learn that the boys' weakness is exposure to anything feminine, so they defeat the gang by kissing them on the cheeks — a bit of a joke about of how young boys often think kissing is gross.

The second time they appear, the Rowdyruff Boys have new haircuts, and they have grown up a little, acting more like middle schoolers. The PPGs discover that their old enemies have now lost their previous weakness. Now, rather than being destroyed, being kissed makes them grow larger and become more powerful. Perhaps we... don't need to hit the metaphor too hard for you to get this, but there might be some symbolism here in how, once these boys have grown up a bit, a kiss from a girl no longer destroys them, and instead makes them... grow.

The girls later discover that emasculating the boys can reverse this process. By mocking the boys and belittling them, the shrink back to their normal size, and then keep shrinking even further, until the girls can hold them in the palms of their hands. Blossom even states at one point, "Whenever their masculinity is threatened, they shrink in size."  Look, we really tried not to read this one this way, but given quotes like that, what else are we supposed to do?

Sadism, spice, and everything nice

Theatrical films often times have difficulty showing blood without getting an R rating, but somehow the Powerpuff Girls will regularly leave villains in a bloody heap or rip monsters limb from limb on a Y7 kids' show. The gals also often inflict Man of Steel levels of collateral damage on Townsville, and whether or not innocent citizens are hurt is rarely addressed. It's sometimes even implied that the Powerpuffs enjoy inflicting violence on villains, such as in "Candy is Dandy," when the girls, filled with rage, take beating up Mojo Jojo a little too far after he steals some of their candy.

But physical violence is not the most cruel and unusual punishment of which the Powerpuff Girls are guilty. In "Dream Scheme," we meet the Sandman, the mythological figure responsible for putting people to sleep. But he has a problem — since he's always working, he's never able to stop working and get some sleep himself. The Sandman concocts a plan to put the entire world to sleep so that he can finally get some shut-eye, and after this works and the Powerpuff Girls (along with everyone else) get trapped in dream land, their solution to stopping the Sandman is entering his dreams and scaring him so bad that "he'll never want to sleep again." And it works. This poor overworked creature leaps out of bed and gets right back to work, vowing to never sleep again, a hollow smile now plastered across his traumatized face.

Some "signs" that The Powerpuff Girls isn't for kids

Though most of the bawdy double-entendres take place in the dialogue, that's not where the real gold lies. If you're a true connoisseur of hidden vulgarity, you'll find that the dirtiest jokes in The Powerpuff Girls tend to be hidden in plain sight, on signage during establishing shots.

One of the more obvious examples occurs in the episode "Down 'n' Dirty." At one point, Buttercup fights a monster alongside a truck for a septic tank company called "Bob's Septic World." This company has the somewhat obvious, yet nonetheless hilarious tagline "We're Full of It!" But perhaps the most hidden and most indecent joke in all of The Powerpuff Girls occurs in the episode "Something's a Ms." That's where we see Ms. Bellum's house for the first time, and according to the address on her mailbox, she lives at "69 Yodelinda Valley Ln." Not only is "69" a pretty famous bit of sexual slang, but "Yodel in the valley" is a somewhat more obscure — yet no less suggestive — turn of phrase.

A very dirty wedding night

Much of The Powerpuff Girls' inappropriate content occurs in small moments in otherwise normal episodes, but the episode "Shotgun Wedding" is thoroughly raunchy throughout. In it, Professor Utonium travels into the woods to study Fuzzy Lumpkins, a recurring villain who is a sort of hillbilly Bigfoot, a gun-wielding pink-furred monster with a bulbous green nose. While tracking Lumpkins, the Professor falls into some mud, getting a muddy lump on his face that resembles a big round nose. Lumpkins then spots Utonium and, because of the mud, mistakes Utonium for a female from his own species.

After the Powerpuffs discover that Lumpkins has captured their dad, intending to marry "her," they interrupt the wedding and beat up Fuzzy. However, they also accidentally injure the professor a bit, momentarily confusing him for a Lumpkin. The girls apologize profusely, but the professor remains grateful. "It's okay," he says, rubbing his bruised bottom. "I can think of much worse things that could have happened."

That joke alone would have been enough, but then things get so much worse. The Professor cleans himself off, leaving behind a muddy pile on the ground. Lumpkins then proclaims "Leave my wifey alone!" and scoops up the mud, carrying it into his shack and completely ignoring the Professor. The noises that then emanate from within cannot be interpreted as anything other than Lumpkins consummating his marriage to a pile of wet dirt.

We really don't know what else there is to say about this one, so let's just move on.

A different kind of "adult" reference

Not all of the "adult" references on the The Powerpuff Girls are about sex. Some are just jokes about movies and music that are so old or adult-oriented that the kids have no idea what it is. If we listed them all, we'd be here all day, but here are some of our favorites.

In the episode "Cootie Gras," there are multiple tributes to The Godfather, including the phrase "make you an offer you can't refuse," and a recreation of the final shot of the film. In "Dream Scheme," an episode in which all of the dialogue rhymes, the show recreates the "Does anybody want a peanut?" joke from The Princess Bride.

The Powerpuff Girls writers also show that they're fans of the Coen Brothers on two occasions. First, there's the episode "Something's a Ms.," which features an extended tribute to the fireplace scene from The Big Lebowski. The Mayor even quotes the line "Are you surprised by my tears? Strong men also cry." Later, there's also an episode of the show called "The Headsucker's Moxy," a nod to The Hudsucker Proxy.

But the most extended "dad joke" in the entire series has to be the entirety of the episode "Meet the Beat-Alls." It's theoretically an episode in which many of the Powerpuffs' most dangerous foes form an alliance to defeat them, but in truth, it's just a plot designed to deliver puns based around the titles of Beatles songs.

A Powerpuff Girls joke that's criminally offensive

Generally speaking, most comedians worth their salt realize that mocking people who have been abused is immoral and not particularly funny. But for some reason, we've all decided as a society that there is a loophole in this rule, a subgroup of victimized people who we are fine with making jokes about, and that's men who are raped in prison. Once you start to realize this trend, you see that jokes about prison rape are disturbingly common in mass market entertainment for audiences of all ages, from Marvel films to Spongebob Squarepants.

The Powerpuff Girls makes a prison rape joke of its own in the episode "Cootie Gras." After Mojo Jojo is defeated yet again by the Powerpuff Girls, the episode ends with him tossed into a prison cell alongside another criminal, a stereotypically burly tough guy. As his cellmate eyes him suggestively, the narrator says, "Love is in the air! Can't you just smell it?" There is even a callback to this joke in the episode "Monkey See, Doggie Two," but this time, Mojo has been transformed into a dog, so he finds himself in the dog pound, stuck next to the similarly large and imposing bulldog equivalent of his last cellmate. Though most of the hidden dirty jokes in The Powerpuff Girls still make us laugh, looking back at this one just makes us shudder.

Buttercup makes sure that her dad stays protected

Even though the Powerpuff Girls were made by mixing together some chemicals in a lab, we get a sign in the episode "Mommy Fearest" that the Professor has indeed told them about other forms of making babies, and the importance of staying protected.

Professor Utonium has just met a woman he likes at the supermarket, and even though he is too stunned to speak to her, the girls prove that they're the ultimate wingmen when they ask the woman out on their dad's behalf. Then, as he is getting ready for his date, the girls continue to help him out, basically doing everything for him. They apply some hair gel and cologne, feed him breath mints, and attach his cufflinks. Then, at the last moment, Buttercup slips something into his jacket pocket that she refers to as "some of these."

It's an extremely quick shot, and we don't get actually see what she gave him, but what else could they be? The show seems to be heavily implying that Buttercup just slipped the Professor some condoms. Just another way that the Powerpuff Girls always make sure that the people of Townsville are staying safe.

It isn't "hard" to spot Mascumax's "giant" innuendos

It isn't often that an entire character is created solely as a vessel for penis jokes, but that's what we have in the case of the villain Mascumax from the episode "Members Only" (yes, that's the title). He's a hairy muscular robot from outer space, he's here to conquer the Earth, and he communicates exclusively through double-entendres.

Mascumax first appears in a meeting of the "Association of World Super Men." Looming above the rest, he says, "Men of Earth, witness the coming of Mascumax: breaker of men, taker of worlds. Be there any true men amongst thee, step forth and bring thy manhood against mine own, so that we might see who has the upper hand on the measuring stick." We count five dirty jokes in just in that line alone, but to be fair, it's totally possible that we missed some. Have we mentioned yet that he also has a gun with a very suggestive shape? Probably goes without saying.

Mascumax only sticks around for a few minutes of screen time, but in that time, he crams in a shocking density of penis jokes. "I feed off your expulsions of manliness!" he bellows. "The more manhood you bring against me, the harder I become!" Fortunately, not long after he shows up, the Powerpuff Girls are able to defeat him by putting their powers together and transforming into a giant cat made of fire known as the "Furious Flaming Feline." Fitting that this cocky fellow ends up getting defeated by a pussycat.

A Hitler joke in a Christmas episode?

In the episode "'Twas the Fight Before Christmas," the girls end up at the North Pole. While they're there, they learn that, in addition to his "Naughty List" and "Nice List," Santa also has a "Permanent Naughty Plaque." There are only four names on the list. Three of them — "Bill McCracken", "Ryan Faust" and "Stephen Fonti," — are references to key members of the show's creative team, Craig McCracken, Lauren Faust, and Steven Fonti. However, the fourth name seems to be a reference to a far more naughty — and far more real — evildoer.

The fourth name on Santa's Permanent Naughty Plaque is "Adolph Shick[e]lgruber," a name which is sometimes purported to be the birth name of Adolph Hitler. If Santa does indeed have a Permanent Naughty Plaque, it would certainly make sense for Hitler's name to be on it. However, for the record, there's no actual evidence that Hitler ever had the last name Schicklgruber. Schicklgruber was the surname Hitler's father was given at birth, but he changed it to "Hitler" over a decade before Adolph was born. It's possible that the writers of The Powerpuff Girls believed this urban legend about Hitler's birth name, but it's far more likely that this bit of misdirection is the only way the writers could slide a Hitler joke into a kids show.